Recap of our recent offshore trips SRQ March 2016

So a few of my buddies head down hoping for some blazing heat and smooth seas.... but this was not to be the case unfortunately. When we see the offshore forecast looking like this we knew it was not gong to be great.

Day 1 headed out to between 100-120 FOW in order to target some snapper and grouper. It was cold and rough, but we did reasonably well. We caught some nice mangos, lanes, and red grouper. We used live shrimp and frozen sardines presented on fishfinder rigs for the most part. Some of the grouper bit on pinfish. This was a solid trip but not amazing. The rough seas made it difficult to anchor and it was not ideal conditions for drifting. We filled the box pretty nicely and no complaints at day's end.

Day 2 seas were a little calmer. Headed out 70+ miles in hopes of finding some pelagics on the troll. No such luck but we did get some nice pink porgies, triggerfish, and snapper. We tried for some AJ's and found plenty between 30-34 inches, but only 1 over 34. The new regs are making it tough. We then stopped inside 120 and picked up some more red grouper and scamp.

Day 3 was last Saturday after the guys left town. Headed out to 100 FOW with Angler Systems. As luck would have it, we blew a lower unit at 10:30 AM so our day was cut short. We did spend a few hours fishing despite nasty seas and hobbling around without 1 of the engines. I think we managed about a dozen mangos and a dozen lanes. We only anchored once due to the impaired boat situation and did the best we could. No pics of the fish this day.

Day 4 fished nearshore, just out side of state waters. It was too rough to get any deeper, especially since I had the kids. I was impressed with the fact that Marine Max swapped out the lower unit and had me back on the water in 1 day. It was a bit sporty in the morning and calmed down as the day went on. We had about 25 mangos, 3 sheepshead, 3 tripletail, and 3 nice hogfish. The fish all preferred shrimp presented on a jig head or fishfinder rig. The knocker rig did not fare as well.

The seas have not been the greatest but we made the best of it. Over the course of 2 weeks I spent a small fortune in fuel, but did manage to get a nice variety of fish. Probably one more trip before we had back to Wisconsin.


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